Welcome to another Gordon Water Wisdom, a special series of The Richard Piet Show, with Tom Duisterhof at Gordon Water Systems. We talk about various aspects of clean, safe drinking water and answering some of the questions that you need to know the answers to if you’re going to embark on this journey to make the water safer in your home or business. In fact, today we’re going to focus on how to know a water softener is high quality. Simple question, but an important one, right, Tom?
Absolutely. And happy day, Richard.
Yeah, welcome back. Yeah, this is something everybody wants to know, right? And nobody wants to buy something that’s not reliable or going to cause problems or try to head that off as much as possible.
So true, and it’s true in any appliance in your home, right? What do we do when we go and look for an appliance in our home? Yeah, we want it to look good, right? For those that are visible in the kitchen or something or even the washer dryer? Mm hmm. But what do we do is we go open the door of the fridge and close and we look at it and we kind of assess, boy, that’s a style we like or you know this and that and the other thing, the same thing with washer and dryer. I redid a kitchen a year ago and I was looking at the styles, but I was also looking at pricing and I was looking at warranty and available parts. I did a little calling around to service people, people that I’ve used in the past, and I said, hey, is this is this good? And when you get a thumbs up from the service people, I say, OK, all right.
Well, that’s a good thought, especially stuff is going to be around for a while.
Right. And so a water softener is not as sexy as a refrigerator or stove because you’re not seeing it every day. It’s down in the basement or in a utility closet or wherever it might be. But it’s hugely important and it’s hugely important for the quality of life, not only for you and your family, but all the water using appliances in your home. When I see some of the items for sale in some of the larger establishments for low cost, and I look at the prices and no door to open, or too much to look at, but just if you can move the whole control valve and control panel side to side and it looks flimsy and feels flimsy, it is flimsy. You know, trust your gut on that one. Yeah, it’s one of those things where you’ve got to work with somebody that’s reputable because a water softener is very rarely purchased, it’s usually sold. And what I mean by that is not a negative. That’s a positive, and a water softener is something that is unique to every home. It might be space. Usually the most defining is water chemistry, so you need to find a company you’re comfortable with to make those recommendations. Somebody that has longevity in the business has a good reputation whether friends, family, co-workers or reviews online, work with somebody that you’re going to trust. I mean, trust always has been and is a defining word when you come to buying appliances and something you want to have for a long time.
Am I biased? You bet. We’re almost 50 years in business and we’ve got top rated equipment, factory trained staff and all of that. So what are some other things to look for in a water softener? Where is it made? Is it made in the U.S.? Hmm. You know, the vast majority can and should be. All of what we work with is us made. So there’s a couple of things. One is we haven’t had the same logistics issues stuck on freighters out in the ocean. More importantly, we’re dealing with reputable manufacturers that are not building for 16 different people. They’re building for their dealers. The components are solid and they’re building for very high quality. And people like Gordon water systems are buying those pieces of equipment. There’s another term, demand regeneration or metered regeneration. Typically, what you see is you’ll see a water softener with a control valve and then you’ll see the round tank next to it where you put the salt, it might be square, it might be a cabinet model where the softener is inside the tank and you put the salt everything inside. But typically that’s called a single tank system. What that means? Yeah, there’s two tanks, but one hold salt. The single is referring to the softening part.
The single tank systems have been the norm for 70 years whenever water softeners came out. That’s just the way it was. And in 1970, Bill Pryor, who was really the founding brains of Kinetico, started asking questions and he said, why can’t we have a twin tank? And the reason he wanted to do that was he wanted to clean the softener or regenerate the softener using clean soft water from the other tank. Oh, why not? Yeah, because a single tank is going to use the water from the city or, well, whatever you happen to have coming into your home, so it eats up some of that capacity. If you have iron in the water, that means you’re bringing in iron and hardness into that softener as you’re trying to clean it. So it’s kind of like, you know, throwing mud in your clothes washer or dishwasher and trying to clean stuff, you’re using a dirty water to clean. And with a twin tank system, you’re using clean water to regenerate the one tank and then the next go round the metering system will say, OK, I’m going to regenerate the other tank using this one, so they toggle back and forth to which one is providing you soft water. So a twin tank system was unique 50 years ago. It’s still pretty darn unique because a lot of dealers and a lot of big box stores, there’s not a big box store that carries a twin tank.
T\You won’t see that in a in a big box, and it’s typically because it’s priced. They are really targeting a certain price level, and when you add another softening tank, it does add a little price to it. The other thing is the control valve. You want a well-built control valve again, U.S. made. My dad always said, Keep it simple, stupid, the old kiss principle. There’s some electric valves out there that do that, and we actually carry that valve on our single tank electric systems. It’s a really good electric valve. Kinetico came out and, like I said, they’ve always been twin tank, but they were also, oddly enough, Bill Pryor designed it with no electricity. It works off the water flow in the House. What that means is there are no valves moving back and forth, and electronics and seals and things that are external to the valve have to initiate the regeneration. The Kinetico works all in the soft side. All the control is on the soft side, so it’s really cool that it works in a temperature controlled, lubricated, clean space while its metering the water that’s going through it and it goes through and initiates its regeneration as it needs to automatically. And so it’s super cool and it’s super reliable.
You know, we can talk quality of company and quality of equipment. The warranty when they came out with their new premier line a number of years ago, they came out with 10 year factory parts and we had had such history with Kinetico, we said, You know what? We’re going to put our labor behind it. So on the premier model, we give our customers 10 years parts and labor. So when you’re looking at equipment, it’s quality of equipment, U.S. made, quality of company supporting you, installing it. We don’t just sell something and hand it to you. We sell and install and service and support you for years to come because those Kineticos work 20, 30, and just this year, I think we pulled out a 40 year old system. So we have customers for a long time and we’ve been here a long time. You want to have that reliability, efficiency and using lower amounts of salt and water are really important and all of our things do that. But you got to look at those things. But the very first step is to have a reputable company do a good water test and give you good recommendations. You can make your choices from that. There’s options out there. We’ve got a bunch and there’s lots online. You can take a look at too, but if it’s on the internet, it must be real.
Well, here’s what’s real. Some of the things you just heard that Tom talked about that really, you should roll over in your mind as you’re evaluating all of these choices and help you make the right choice when you finally do and you talked about not having to plug it in. How about that in a world where everything has to be plugged in? Boy, it’s nice not to have to worry about that.
Yeah, it is unique and it’s very reliable and it has been for 50 years and we’re looking for many more.
And all you have to look for is the link to Gordon Water Systems’ website. It’s right here in the show notes. Just scroll down and click that and you’ll see Tom’s website and all of the details that you need to make a contact, make a call, send an email, however you’d like to do that and ask the questions that need to be asked in order for you to make an educated decision about how to know the water softener is high quality.
Tom Duisterhof, our guest with Gordon Water Wisdom on this and every Gordon Water Wisdom episode. Thank you, Tom.
Thank you, Richard.